Engle advances to national semifinal
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Men's Wrestling - Fri, Mar. 10, 2017

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Cornell 149-pounder Aaron Engle (SR/Kansas City, Mo.) kept his national title hopes alive with two impressive victories over seeded wrestlers Friday at the NCAA Wrestling Championships inside the La Crosse Center.

Engle is halfway there, following a similar path as his graduated twin brother Trevor, a 2016 NCAA runner-up at 149. The unseeded Aaron Engle (20-9) is guaranteed of his first all-America medal.  

Engle will face No. 2 and undefeated Seth Lansberry (40-0) of Lycoming in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday. Lansberry, a fourth-place NCAA finisher a year ago, did not surrender a point in his two wins Friday.

In the other 149-pound semifinal, Wartburg's No. 1 and two-time defending champion Kenny Martin (16-0) meets Southern Maine's No. 4 Dan Del Gallo (43-1).

Ram 174-pounder Michael Maksimovic (SR/Northbrook, Ill.) came up one point short of an all-America finish and advancing to the second day. A first-time qualifier, Maksimovic went 2-2 in the tournament.

Engle fought his way past two tough opponents, highlighted by an 11-10 quarterfinal thriller over No. 3 Sam Schneider of Ithaca. Engle scored the go-ahead takedown in the closing seconds to spring the upset. The Ram wrestler trailed 5-3 after one period, 7-5 after two, and 10-9 with less than a minute to go.

Engle, a two-time qualifier, opened the day with a 9-7 decision over Olivet's No. 6 Austin Kelly.

In the bout to determine all-America honors at 174, Maksimovic (27-11) was edged 6-5 by Washington & Jefferson's No. 7 Sonnieboy Blanco in an elimination match. Maksimovic rallied to tie it at 5-5 heading into the third period, but then a Blanco escape proved to be the difference.  

Maksimovic had a difficult opening assignment, falling 11-6 to defending champion Ben Swarr of Messiah. He bounced back in the consolation rounds, starting with a 6-1 victory over New York's John Messinger. Maksimovic then upended Concordia's No. 8 Mason Mergener in convincing fashion, 14-8.